Cruise the inland waters of the Netherlands and Belgium to discover the land of windmills, tulips and wooden shoes; marvel at the spectacular modern architecture of Rotterdam, the medieval charm of Ghent and the artistic masterpieces of Antwerp. This is a fantastic pre-conference option for our Paris 2020 conference.
Details of the Tulips and Windmills Tour:
Day 1 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Everyone has an image of Amsterdam. For some, it’s small boats gliding on the canals and locals two-wheeling on bikes to work and, as frequently, to meet friends for drinks. For others, it’s gabled buildings leaning, seemingly precariously, over cobbled streets and cozy taverns illuminated by candles. Still others imagine tulips in bloom and the paintings Vermeer, Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Each vision is even more beguiling when experienced in person.
Day 2 - Hoorn, Netherlands
The harbor town of Hoorn embodies what makes the Netherlands so special: water, trade and architecture. Located near the open sea on the largest lake in Western Europe, the Ijsselmeer, this city shines, still glinting with the prosperity brought by the great sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company, which delivered exotic spices and sprinkled the town with elegant touches. Explore cobbled streets to discover interesting museums, fine monuments, the graceful town square and timeless harbor.
Day 3 - Kinderdijk & Rotterdam, Netherlands
Kinderdijk, one of Netherland's biggest tourist attractions, is world-renowned for the 19 eighteenth-century windmills that continue to operate today. This UNESCO World Heritage Site continues to enthrall tourists with its historic windmills (and the beloved folklore of "The Cat and the Cradle" that goes with it), a picturesque town and a community of friendly locals who eagerly welcome visitors from all over the world seeking a peek into old world Dutch living.
Much of Rotterdam’s edgy, sophisticated personality is a result of the destruction of much of the city by the WWII blitz, which left it to be rebuilt with a contemporary approach to design. Modern, eye-catching buildings of concrete, glass and steel stand in stark contrast to the few remaining “old city” areas of Delfshaven, or Delft Harbor, and Oude Haven, or Old Harbor, and outstanding museums, hotels and restaurants consistently earn Rotterdam top rankings for best places to visit.
Day 4 - Antwerp, Belgium
What Milan is to Italy, Antwerp is to Belgium, a historic city that is on-trend with a finger on the pulse of fashion, art and entertainment. A dynamic energy fills Antwerp’s old squares, gorgeous with cobbled centers and edged, like a cake with decorative icing, by ornate buildings. High-reaching church towers and fountains with cherubic sculptures add to the feeling of antiquity, while the port - the largest in Belgium and one of the largest in the world - brings a sense of purpose and prosperity. Surely, you associate Antwerp with diamonds. More than 70 percent of all diamonds are traded through this sparkling city, one that also shines under the light of celebrated painter Peter Paul Rubens, who lived and worked in an Italianate city manse, now a museum.
Day 5 - Ghent, Belgium
Buildings with stair-stepped gables, the meeting of the rivers Scheldt and Leie, intact and well-preserved medieval architecture, a brooding castle, the famed Ghent Altarpiece. Ghent is a welcoming center of industry with a lively cultural scene. Walk along pretty canals, wander into stunning churches, and appreciate the flowers adorning squares and alleyways as you explore what was once one of Europe’s richest cities and continues to enrich travelers.
Day 6 - Middelburg, Netherlands
A key player in the Golden Age of Dutch science and technology, Middelburg scientists are credited for the invention of the microscope and telescope. Famed explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who discovered Easter Island, was also a resident. Today, the city continues to thrive with its rich cultural and scientific history with gothic buildings, centuries-old canals, and the Delft Market Square where old and new worldscome together.
Day 7 - Amsterdam, Netherlands